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#1801519 - 12/06/11 04:31 PM best way to start w/out lessons?
newbieB Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 3
In the town that I live in there are literally 0 piano instructors. I've been playing guitar for about 18 years. I record music for fun. I've had a keyboard for a couple of years just as a midi device. Used it mostly for drums interestingly enough.

Anyway I finally decided I'd like to learn to play piano. Question is should I just get some beginner books and get started? Learn scales and chords and just start learning to play songs?

I've seen some online youtube lessons. Just wondering if anyone has any advice. I'd like to go to an instructor but i've been looking for days and there really aren't any in my town.


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#1801566 - 12/06/11 05:29 PM Re: best way to start w/out lessons? [Re: newbieB]
MaryBee Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 1185
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Hi newbie B, and welcome to the forum. I can't give any suggestions for beginner books or methods. But there have been a couple discussions on the forum over the past few weeks about individual online lessons via Skype. Try doing a search on that.
Mary Bee
Current mantra: Play outside the box.

#1801714 - 12/06/11 10:16 PM Re: best way to start w/out lessons? [Re: newbieB]
Brian Lucas Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 901
Originally Posted By: newbieB
I've had a keyboard for a couple of years just as a midi device. Used it mostly for drums interestingly enough.

Ooooo. Don't say that around here. Might start a riot! wink

Depends on what you want to play. For pop styles of music, yeah, chords and scales are good. Sometimes the best things to do for people who play guitar and want to learn piano is to do the same exercises you did to get better at guitar. So if you're used to running scales on guitar, you won't mind practicing them on piano. Use the music theory you already have and try to transfer the knowledge to play the same thing on the keyboard.
BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 21+ year teacher and touring musician
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#1801994 - 12/07/11 11:27 AM Re: best way to start w/out lessons? [Re: newbieB]
beechcraft409 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/29/11
Posts: 190
I started by googling how to read sheet music. If you can already do that, you're a step ahead. Just find some real basic sheet music, there is a large section of easy piano music at 8notes.com. I started doing that, learned a few real basic tunes. From there I started learning stuff that I wanted to play. Learned a little bit of a lot of songs grin.

After a few months I got comfortable with my hands doing different things, and started learning a little bit more advanced stuff. After about a year I finally started learning "real piano music." Took me most of this year to learn to play a Chopin prelude, and I just started working on a Chopin waltz.

I've done a little bit with scales, but that is something I would recommend from the start. That is where I went wrong.

#1802292 - 12/07/11 08:48 PM Re: best way to start w/out lessons? [Re: beechcraft409]
maduro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/11
Posts: 276
depending on your goals I would definitely recomend
using some sort of method
such as faber and faber
start out with the most basic and work your way up
get many sources of music for your level play to performance tempo
always endeavor to perform your music
even if it is just for your freinds
give a recital to your aunt or mother once a month

or girlfriend
this way you can be sure to
work to play well and confidently

find popular works so that that you can hear someone play on youtube and try to get your playing to sound the same

using a method will ensure that you are staying on a track.
with learing scales and getting the proper theory

I am a full time church musician I started playing 12 years ago
at the age of 33 I am self taught although I did have a teacher for about 6 months

and now I can pay my bills with music

I only read on a intermediate level however
but then again that is enough to play most hymns
and I can read chord charts and have a very very strong theory background

for me I would always encourage people to understand theory
but that track is not for everyone.

#1802372 - 12/08/11 12:06 AM Re: best way to start w/out lessons? [Re: newbieB]
daviel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 933
Loc: Waxahachie, Texas
Welcome! It's better to get some instruction. No telling what bad habits you might pick up on your own. That said how did you learn guitar - use those skills on piano. And... I'd learn all the scales around the circle of 4th (or 5ths as you please) Try easy method books. Learn chords in all the keys. If your ear is good use it. Use a metronome. Just play every day some. persistence and steady practice will win out! good luck
"She loves to limbo, that much is clear. She's got the right dynamic for the New Frontier"

David Loving, Waxahachie, Texas

#1802506 - 12/08/11 08:10 AM Re: best way to start w/out lessons? [Re: newbieB]
newbieB Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 3
Thanks for all the suggestions..

I learned guitar with an instructor. Of course I was a little kid at that point. I remember my instructor taught me scales and more specifically blues scales. He taught me how I could string together my own notes within these scales to make my own riffs. I enjoyed doing that so much that it was most of what I did when I practiced and really helped me develop as far as traversing the fret board.

Then he taught me songs and how to read tabs.

I like scales because I can do the same sort of thing and it doesn't feel like mindless repetition.

Beyond that though one thing I'm interested in with the piano is remaking some of the songs I play on the guitar on the piano. Seems like it would be fun. Mostly though I play 90s alternative rock heh. So it should be interesting.

I'll pick up a book on scales and start with that. Learn my way around the piano. Probably pick up a couple of Fake books too. I'll have to learn to read music.

#1802574 - 12/08/11 10:21 AM Re: best way to start w/out lessons? [Re: newbieB]
Stanza Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1458
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
Here are my recommendations:

A book series as previously recommended. Some have companion technique/theory volumes. The Alfred series seems popular here.

A recording device (what you think you sound like and what you actually do sound like can often differ. Video will let you check posture.

I like Barbara Lister Sink's "Freeing the Caged Bird" video for posture and movement.

A metronome.

A copy of La Campenella, or some other insanely hard piece that is way beyond your ability that you can slug away at for years wasting valuable time that could have been spent learning the fundamentals... (just kidding, but many do this!)

Do concentrate on learning to read music. It will open up a vast world of music to play.
Estonia L190 #7004
Casio PX 310
Yamaha NP 30

#1802628 - 12/08/11 11:59 AM Re: best way to start w/out lessons? [Re: newbieB]
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
Originally Posted By: newbieB

Beyond that though one thing I'm interested in with the piano is remaking some of the songs I play on the guitar on the piano. Seems like it would be fun. Mostly though I play 90s alternative rock heh. So it should be interesting.

You can definitely do that. You could probably figure a lot of that stuff out by ear since you already know it on guitar .
A good scale/chord book would be a great place to start. I think you will be playing your favorite songs in no time.

I also like some 90's alternative rock as well as some heavy metal and just rock/hard rock in general. And I always want to play them on piano either because it's just my way of paying homage to the music I like or just for the irony of it. laugh ha

Keep us posted. I'd love to hear what you come up with.
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee


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